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National security top priority for new customs chief

2021-10-21 HKT 16:31
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  • National security top priority for new customs chief
Hong Kong's new Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Louise Ho, says she is making safeguarding national security her top priority, including tackling the threat posed by the smuggling of Australian lobsters to the mainland.

Ho, the wife of constitutional and mainland affairs minister Erick Tsang, was appointed to the position by the State Council on Thursday morning after being nominated by Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Speaking to reporters, the commissioner vowed to safeguard national security and prevent terrorism.

Ho said the number of guns and helmets seized at the border has dropped, but her officers will be on the alert for people resorting to "soft resistance" to spread messages endangering national security, through books, magazines or everyday items.

"We proactively collect intelligence on possible contraband. At this moment, we cannot say any definite product. But we should be alert to the situation, not only firearms, ammunition, or weapons and also strategic commodities, we should also pay special attention to those products which may impose threats on national security," she said.

The new commissioner also said she expects officers to take the initiative to prevent, curb and punish acts that may endanger national security, citing the recent seizure of Australian lobster as an example.

"On the face of it, it's just a normal smuggling case, smuggling lobsters. But actually these smuggling activities would undermine the country's trade restrictions on Australia. Therefore, tackling lobster smuggling activities is an important task in safeguarding national security," Ho said.

Customs has also set up a new internal platform to help officers learn more about safeguarding national security, Ho said.